No Escape!

No Escape!The Game: Jason, having made off with the Golden Fleece, has enraged the gods, who trap him in a temple along with a never-ending supply of Furies. Players can move Jason from side to side to avoid the Furies’ fire, and to fire back – but shooting a Fury directly will create another Fury rather than destroying it. Carefully-timed shots at the temple’s roof, however, will dislodge bricks that can permanently eliminate any Furies that they hit. Jason (and, presumably, countless screaming Argonauts) will advance a level when all of the Furies on the present level are destroyed. Taking too much damage from the Furies (or from chunks of the roof that he himself has caused to fall) will cost Jason his life. (Imagic, 1983)

Memories: One of the lesser-known Imagic titles for the 2600, No Escape! was titled Escape From Argos for much of its development cycle. It combines the tried-and-true elements of slide-and-shoot games and brick-busting games such as Breakout, but does it in such a novel way that it manages to be fresh. Continue reading

Quick Step

Quick StepSee the videoThe Game: In what one can only assume is a long-standing rivalry spawned at your local zoo, a kangaroo and a squirrel battle it out on a relentlessly scrolling playing field of multicolored magic flying carpets. The player’s kangaroo tries to change as many of those carpets to his color (green) by hopping on them, while the squirrel (controlled either by the computer or by a second player) will try to turn those carpets blue. Allowing your critter to scroll off the bottom of the screen will cost you one of his lives, and the game ends when one critter or the other has run out of them. (Imagic, 1983)

Memories: In the early days of third-party games for the 2600, game manufacturers were happy to just mimic what was in the arcades – Activision‘s early hit Kaboom! directly copied an early arcade game called Avalanche, Imagic‘s Atlantis (which borrowed heavily from the obscure Taito coin-op Colony 7), and countless Pac-Man clones (Alien, Shark Attack, and so on). Even Atari got in on the act, porting Exidy‘s Circus to the VCS as Circus Atari. But after Atari sued the Odyssey2 game K.C. Munchkin! off the shelves, however, you’d think the rules would’ve changed, and the third-party developers would have found that ever-present legal threat encouragement enough to pursue more innovative ideas. Continue reading

Super Demon Attack

Super Demon AttackThe Game: Demons coalesce into existence in mid-air above your cannon. Send them back where they came from by force. (Texas Instruments, under license from Imagic, 1983)
See the video
Memories: Somewhat similar to the Intellivision edition of Imagic’s Demon Attack in look and feel, this TI version of the game takes advantage of that computer’s graphics capabilities to turn the attacking demons into little pixellated pieces of Lovecraftian horror. It doesn’t make the game better or worse, really, but it adds a certain frisson to have nightmarish alien jellyfish-like critters descending upon you. Why Super Demon Attack? Because it’s got super demons, plain and simple. Continue reading

Dragonfire

DragonfireThe Game: You’re another treasure-hunting glory seeker who’s about to meet more than his match. If you can survive crossing the drawbridge into the castle – a task made incredibly difficult by the glowing fireballs of dragon breath being hurled toward you – you’ve got an even more hazardous obstacle ahead: the dragon himself is guarding a huge stash of treasure. Even if he can’t stop you from pocketing every shiny thing in the castle, chances are you won’t make it out alive. (Imagic, 1984)

Memories: A nicely dolled-up version of a game that was already a lot of fun on the Atari 2600 and Intellivision, Dragonfire is one of Imagic‘s few Colecovision entries. The game is still fun, but now it looks simply incredible too. Continue reading

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